Alek Lenth

Freshman - 703 Points (12/12/87 / El Paso)

Out Of Place - Poem by Alek Lenth

'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy' - a manic depressant

They had never been seen under heaven before and that is why they are named, in rough translation, the 'the visiting ones' in many local dialects

Accounts were as follows:

Something has washed up on the shore!

We all run quickly, afraid that another whale was beached from his unhappiness

Or that a dolphin has broken through a net or harpoon and seriously injured, is in dire need of our help

But what we see is worse, dozens of fish sized creatures unknown to man before flopping on the hot sandy beach

Immediately we go to work; fashioning stretchers, pouring shell-fulls of cool seawater on each large-strange eye, when we do this they open their fins almost like feathered wings in gratitude

The media comes quickly along with the universities, the governments, and the students

And conclude that the man-made beach was built on traditional nesting ground for this ancient and migratory species

But on the next day

Look! They've come again, dozens more than have come before!

And we know that we are needed more than ever! Not just here but the world over! The world this time watches us carefully place each on a stretcher, massage out their wings and baptize them in sea water

We race against the gulls who remember how to eat these demigods

The world agrees that they are angels: emissaries to man to warn of impending dangers

Today it is certain that unnatural plankton growth fueled by warming water temperatures and chemical runoff have infected and disoriented our noblest neighbors

Very early in the morning, I awake in fear that I will see them again, hopelessly flopping against the unnatural state of the world with sand in their eye

I walk right up to the water's edge, I see the morning harvest of the shells, the wind blowing rather coldly, the far off laughs of the gulls and then a few skipping splashes and

Thwomp! I am struck in the head by one of our little angels! Dismayed I look around, more and more land on the beach

I race up and down tossing them back but frivolously: they keep landing

I look up to the sky almost in desperation and towards the sun, then I see and hear a splash

A merman with his foot upon a wave and one of the fish in his hands

He cries out:

You monster! These birds will surely drown in here.

(21st May 2011)

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 21, 2011

Poem Edited: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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